The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Billboard Contact and Donation Information

Posted on October 26th, 2015 at 4:56 pm by

Please direct all media inquiries about DYR’s new billboard in metro Detroit (pictured below) to Dan McGowan at 315-781-3418 or Henry Herskovitz at 734-663-3649.

Billboard donations to offset its cost or to keep it in place longer are welcome. If you opt to use JustGive for your donation please select “Billboard” under Program.

DYR's new billboard in metro Detroit.

Report on Beth Israel vigil 11-07-15

Posted on November 8th, 2015 at 6:50 pm by

Local TV station initiates coverage of DYR billboard, then clams up

Billboard Oct 2015 1 of 2-sm

A story within a story … reporter Camille Amiri of local television station WXYZ-TV “breaks” the news of our billboard in the Detroit area and interviews only ADL (Anti-Defamation League) Detroit Regional Director Heidi Budaj, and claims that she tried to “reach out to the organization who had this billboard put up”. Neither this writer, nor Dan McGowan, Executive Director of Deir Yassin Remembered, was ever personally contacted, nor contact made via the DYR website. Amiri also assures her readers “Of course we will let you know when and if they (DYR) do call me back and get a more definitive answer on what exactly this billboard means.”

This writer phoned the TV station within one hour of Amiri’s broadcast on Thursday, October 22, and repeatedly tried via email to contact her over the next few days to provide the answers to her question, but to no avail. She responded only once and that was to say she had forwarded my contact information to the news room.

Why the Wieselian silence? Why the false statements? And why the immediate dropping of the story? For help on this let’s allow the Detroit Jewish News and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency to provide insight. The female reporter from the DJN called this writer but was apparently shocked into printable silence by my claim that America and Israel were ideologically opposites: (1) America represents separation of state and religion, whereas Israel is wedded to the Jewish faith; (2) America does not discriminate based on ethnic origin or religious affiliation in granting the right to vote, while Israel denies millions of Palestinians that same right; and (3) Americans enjoy freedom of political expression, where Israel does not.

She questioned the third claim, but again had no response to the fact that it is illegal in Israel to question the standard narrative of the “Holocaust”.

Julie Weiner of the JTA did not even bother going through any potentially damaging phone call interviews, and merely ascertained from Mr. McGowan that more billboards are planned, pending funding. In spite of receiving my contact information, Weiner elected not to proceed.

We are left to speculate re: the silence from the Jewish community on this topic. We feel it’s clear that they would like this embarrassing billboard removed from the sight of the viewing public, and possibly informed WXYZ to drop it. Perhaps Tony Soprano carried the message personally to Camille Amiri. We really just don’t know.

Billboard story gets play internationally

Flip to the good side: many news organizations picked up on our billboard, including the American Free Press, the Arab American News, the Jerusalem Post and Russia Today. Dave Gahary of the AFP spent over an hour on the phone with this writer, and we anticipate a story coming out soon.

The billboard strikes a nerve – just as our weekly vigils do – in the heart of the Jewish community. They know that the claim of dual loyalty is a valid one, despite the kneejerk reaction from Heidi Budaj. Michael Hager wants to know the number of congressmen and senators currently holding dual citizenship with Israel, and so do we. To which country are these political leaders pledging allegiance? Why is it that Benjamin Netanyahu receives more standing ovations addressing OUR congress than any US president in recent memory? Why does Barack Obama say there is “no daylight” between the U.S. and Israel despite the three major differences listed above?

Isn’t it clear that our leaders in Congress and the White House are hand-picked or coerced to pay homage to the “special relationship” by the enormous financial and political pressure exerted by the Jewish Lobby? Deir Yassin Remembered and Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends see the daylight, and we’re not the only ones. That’s why the billboard has enjoyed so much success. The next one is coming. Stay tuned.


Oct. 24 Nine vigilers
Oct. 31 Seven vigilers
Nov. 7 Four vigilers
Israeli Citizens in OUR Congress?
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

Report on Beth Israel vigil 10-17-15

Posted on October 21st, 2015 at 7:17 pm by

Detroit Billboard by Deir Yassin Remembered

We are happy to announce a new billboard in Detroit sponsored by our friends at Deir Yassin Remembered to remind American motorists that our legislative leaders need to put American interests ahead of the interests of the Jewish Lobby in determining U.S. foreign policy. The strategy behind this billboard’s statement, “America First, Not Israel”, is to drive a wedge between those who feel American interests are not served by fighting wars for Israel, and the Israel-firsters in this country who manipulate our leaders into the false premise that Israel is the ally of the United States. As Alison Weir documents in her book, Against Our Better Judgment, nothing could be further from the truth.

This billboard is located on Eight Mile Road, just a half mile west of the Southfield Expressway. It is visible to the four lanes of traffic flowing east on the south side of the road.

Billboard Oct 2015 1 of 2-sm

higher res photo here

Pro-Palestine Protest in Dearborn

Five members of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends attended a rally for Palestine on Sunday, October 18 in front of the Henry Ford Library in Dearborn, Michigan. This was part of a series of rallies held throughout the United States and Europe, designed to support Palestine in its Third Intifada. The Dearborn rally, about 125 people by our read, was covered by an article in the Arab American News, which can be read here.

Merriam Webster: No “Holocaust” for 36 years after WWII

When did the term “Holocaust” become defined as a reference to the egregious treatment of Jews at the hands of the Nazi government of Germany? Not until 1983, according to JWPF’s research department, which paid a visit to the Reference Room at the University of Michigan Graduate Library. Check it out:

In the 1981 Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, the word “holocaust” is defined as:

1.  a sacrifice consumed by fire
2.  a thorough destruction, esp. by fire

Two years later, in the 1983 Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, we find the definition of “holocaust” as:

1.  a sacrifice consumed by fire
2.  a thorough destruction, esp. by fire
3.  often cap : the genocidal slaughter of European Jews by the Nazis during World War II – usu. used with the


Oct. 10 Seven vigilers
Oct. 17 Nine vigilers
Alison Weir returning to SE Michigan; stay tuned!
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

Report on Beth Israel vigil 10-03-15

Posted on October 4th, 2015 at 9:08 pm by

Mondoweiss Strikes Out

For the third time in about six years we once again reached out for on-line news coverage by Phil Weiss’ Mondoweiss. This time, our friend Dan McGowan, Executive Director of Deir Yassin Remembered, asked Phil to report on our 12 years holding the Ann Arbor Jewish community accountable for their support of Israel as a Jewish state. Dan wrote to Phil:

Would you be willing to run a piece on Warren Routledge’s excellent new book, Holocaust High Priest?

Would you be willing to run a piece on our board member, Henry Herskovitz, who still leads the longest running vigil every week in Ann Arbor?

Phil Weiss replied:

sorry Daniel, can’t touch it w a ten-foot pole

We note that Phil could have differentiated between Dan’s two requests and used his unwillingness to question the holocaust, to accept the task of reviewing our vigils, yet he chose – once again – not to accept that challenge. Perhaps Gilad Atzmon is right when he quotes Phil as being more concerned with “Jewish self-interest” than “a theory of political life based on altruism or concern for victims.” As Gilad writes in “Jews & Their Self Interest – An Interview with Philip Weiss“:

It seems to me that once again, I have failed to converse with a ‘progressive Jew.’ I guess that in spite of the openness Weiss showed initially, he, like many others, cannot resolve the tension beyond the universal and the tribal.

And by now, I am increasingly certain that this gap cannot be bridged easily, if at all, for the tribal and universal are like water and oil.

I guess that the difficulties involved in resolving the tension between the universal and the tribal explains why so many progressive Jews prefer to operate in intellectual, ideological and political exclusive ‘Jews only’ cells where these questions are never raised, never asked, and never answered.

In any case, we won’t bother Phil with any more requests. After all, outside of our initial requests to present our witness of Palestine to three area synagogues in 2003, JWPF is not in the business of asking for favors from others. We act, and others react.

How did you celebrate Eat-a-Cheeseburger Day?

Hats off to our friend and supporter Michael Rabb, who celebrated this annual event with a protest at TWO synagogues in Boulder, Colorado (Bonai Shalom and Har Hashem) PLUS downing a cheeseburger and a beverage at a local brew pub. He reports:

Hey !

we did it again !

My friend Jim and I stood in front of Congregation Bonai Shalom on Yom Kippur and asked Jews to confess and atone for the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

Not much was happening at Bonai Shalom (we were out numbered by the police!) so we moved on to the next synagogue, Congregation Har Hashem on Baseline Rd in Boulder. Congregants at Har Hashem seemed puzzled : what does Palestine have to do with Jews?

MR at protest 2015-09-23-sm

Considering Congregation Har HaShem’s open commitment to Zionism the reported puzzlement is curious, to say the least.

Local Report: Eat-a-Cheeseburger Day

Falling well short of our Colorado friends in the protest business, 16 JWPF members and supporters celebrated this holiday only with a cheeseburger cookout including lively discussion and poetry reading.

EACD 2015-09-23-sm


Seven vigilers
Henry Herskovitz
Bernie is a Jewish Zionist
Zionism is Racism
What does that make Bernie?
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

Report on Beth Israel vigil 09-19-15

Posted on September 21st, 2015 at 10:30 am by

Ann Arbor Quakers Put it to Josh Ruebner

Floating across our desk this week appears a letter to several top dogs in the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and Jewish Voice for Peace from the local Quaker peace group, Palestine Israel Action Group (PIAG). Obviously concerned about USCEIO and JVP’s recent ouster of Alison Weir, this letter asks for assurance that “USC and JVP’s investigations of coalition members will end.”

PIAG reports to their constituents: “PIAG is sad to report that US Campaign is unable to give the assurance they requested in the final line above. Policy Director Josh Ruebner stated in a conference call with PIAG that if any further group were to request the ousting of another member, US Campaign’s standard procedures would mandate that such a request be duly considered.”

Perhaps PIAG members in attendance last April when Josh spoke at the Quaker’s Meeting observed his dodge of a vital question from the audience: Does Israel have a “right” to exist as a Jewish state, and if so, on what grounds? Then PIAG members witnessed the removal of If Americans Knew from the coalition which makes up Josh’s group and are now, hopefully, catching on to the nature of Jewish Power within the Palestine solidarity movement.


Questioning the US Campaign

The letter from PIAG highlights US Campaign’s Common Principles, which stand “opposed to Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, all forms of racism…” yet the authors fail to ask an obvious question: Why, if the USC stands against all forms of racism, don’t they stand firmly against Zionism and demand the peaceful dismantlement of the Jewish-privileged state? After all, even the United Nations “Determine[d] that zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination” in 1975, and, in spite of being strong-armed by Jewish Power to revoke the resolution in 1991, the UN never “determined” that Zionism was not a form of racism. A slight, but salient detail we think…

Last Reminder: Eat-a-Cheeseburger Day Wednesday

Readers are reminded that this writer will host a gathering Wednesday September 23 at 4:00pm for a celebration of the 6th Annual Bill Henry International Eat-a-Cheeseburger Day. Please call ahead or email your plans to attend so the correct amount of cheeseburgers may be grilled. And wherever Wednesday finds you, hoist a burger for Bill.


In last week’s report we mistakenly identified Alan Haber as one of the architects of the purge of the Middle East Task Force. He was not. We apologize for this error and hope that our rash conclusion did not do any harm.


Seven vigilers
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
Challenging Jewish Power since 2003

Report on Beth Israel vigil 09-12-15

Posted on September 14th, 2015 at 2:55 pm by

JWPF Completes Twelve Years Holding Jewish Community Accountable

Guest vigiler Michael Rabb joined our ranks this Saturday as seven activists continued the “only game in town” – holding congregants of Beth Israel Congregation accountable for their political, spiritual, and (especially) financial support for the Jewish state, which continues its genocidal program of cleansing Palestine of non-Jews. A football Saturday in Ann Arbor provided an increase in cars passing by and the number of occupants in those vehicles. So, well over 1,200 observers were exposed to political messages they will not receive through the mainstream media.

Sixth Annual Eat-a-Cheeseburger Day Approaches

Peacemonger reminds us that Wednesday, September 23rd will be the Sixth Annual Bill Henry International Eat-a-Cheeseburger Day. Members of JWPF invite you to attend a burger burn at this writer’s home, 4:00 pm, to celebrate the man who, through his memorable action 61 years ago, indirectly brought us the longest running Palestine liberation action Ann Arbor has ever seen.

ICPJ Hosts “Insipid” Rally for Iran

Four members of JWPF accepted an invitation from the deceptively named Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice’s “Vigil for Peace and Diplomacy with Iran” at Ann Arbor’s Federal Building on September 10. About 75 people showed up and listened to Chuck Warpehoski and Joe Summers and Alan Haber. Report readers will remember these guys as the architects of the purge of the Middle East Task Force, then the largest task force of ICPJ, for having the temerity to unanimously support BDS back in 2006.

The Michigan Daily article covering this event including a photo cleansed of our presence but author Allana Akhtar did give us a nod, “Attendees also included four noticeably anti-Israel activists, holding signs that read ‘boycott Israel’ and ‘defeat Israel.’ It also quotes Warpehoski saying the Iran nuclear deal “will help make the world safer for nuclear weapons”. As Peacemonger points out: “Chuck has that right, Israeli and American nuclear weapons are indeed ‘safer’ as they are unacknowledged and untouched by the deal. Iran’s repeated calls for a nuclear weapons-free Middle East go unheeded, virtually unheard, and certainly un-echoed by faux peace activists such as Warpehoski and Summers. Some diplomacy.”

For the vigil from our perspective, Vigiler C reports:

Last night was surreal. It was a protest without a protest. The biggest protest was when this guy came looking at Henry and R’s signs and then decided to stand in front of R’s.

… I couldn’t stand what the [guy] was doing, so I asked R to move around me. Baffled, he did and immediately the [guy] moved again making his place right in front of R. R saw now and said, “Oh, is this why I am moving?” And I said, “Yeah. He’s trying to cover up your sign.”

I told R to hold his sign up, but he didn’t understand [author’s note: R is extremely hard of hearing] and it seemed the [guy] was reaching to take it, so I grabbed it, held it high and said, “Ever heard of free speech?” He said, “What group are you here with? I’m with the Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice. Our message is one of peace. This is not our message.”

I told him, “See that sign?” and pointed to M’s – “That’s why we’re here and that’s why you should be here.” The [guy] said, “I’m here for peace and you don’t tell me why I should be here.”

August 31_Face of occupation-sm

Five minutes after that, they stopped their ‘protest’, crowded into a small circle of about seventy and had different speakers preaching to the choir. The four of us stayed at the corner engaging positive and negative interactions with drivers and passers-by. As the first speaker started, M yelled, “The reason to protest is to end the occupation – end apartheid. What you are doing is not a protest. It’s a joke.”

She was right. That was a controlled protest to give an appearance which lacked substance. As she said, “They are so lame.” Beyond the insipid was trying to stifle our voice as if they owned the corner and the rights of free speech. I am so sick of the sham of their facade and the depth of the infiltration into our mindset, culture and institutions.


Seven vigilers
Henry Herskovitz [with additions from PeaceMonger]
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
“You’re either a Zionist or an anti-Semite” – vigil supporter M

Report on Beth Israel vigil 08-29-15

Posted on September 1st, 2015 at 9:31 am by

Quality, Not Quantity

Sometimes it takes a d’oh! moment to hear the voice of reason. Last week’s report, you may remember, called for readers to express their opinion whether a certain cartoon sign should be posted at the vigils. The vote was 11-8 FOR displaying the cartoon.

But Vigil Supporter J posited a game-changer. He wrote: “Henry, I think that drawing will discredit your group. Use the copy…change the drawing.”

Here was an extremely positive compliment to Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends, wrapped in an innocent piece of free advice. J, like those of us who stand vigil week after week, recognizes that we are a pretty proud group. Some dress in our Sunday (or Saturday) best, not out of respect for the Jewish supremacist congregants of Beth Israel (although initially we did), but out of self-respect. Was hoisting the cartoon somehow diminishing our messages and self-esteem?

Vigil Supporter M also raised awareness: When shown the shoddy treatment of JWPF afforded by Ann Arbor’s Jewish newspaper, M reacted by saying both sides are just slinging mud. “They are, but we’re not” I attempted a correction. “You will be, if you hold that cartoon” was the succinct response.

So here’s what the sign/cartoon looked like this Saturday. Who says we’re not a reasonable bunch?

Vigil Sign Aug 2015-sm

Rally for Ed Pinkney

Three members of JWPF traveled to the Michigan State Office Building in Grand Rapids to join supporters in a two-hour protest to request that the three judges reconsider a bond request that would release Reverend Pinkney, currently held in the Lakeland Prison in Coldwater, Michigan. The rally drew about twenty supporters from Detroit, Ann Arbor and Lansing. This writer hopes to visit Ed some time soon after Labor Day.

Guest Celebrity Vigiler

Aimee Smith, now hailing from California, rejoined her friends and associates at our vigil, boosting attendance to eleven. Aimee was the Voice of the Vigils while she lived in Ann Arbor, always willing to verbally go toe-to-toe with the most virulent Zionist, and this week was able to engage and totally embarrass Professor Victor Lieberman. When the good professor realized he’d met his match, he quickly resorted to the Zionist’s weapon of choice: name calling. JWPF’s film editing department is currently producing a viewable video from the original provided by this writer. Stay tuned …


Eleven vigilers
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
Zionists Out of the Peace Movement
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